—Mohandas K. Gandhi
Uh-Oh, I feel a rant coming on. I am so tired of the abuse that I see directed at animals every day. Although I have taken almost all meat and all poultry out of my diet, I do understand that we are omnivores, and accept others' choice of eating meat. What I don’t except is the way many of these animals are treated. They are often stacked in small cages with no room to move and force-fed to fatten them for slaughter. Why does man believe this is right? Does level of intelligence determine how well one should be treated? If so, I know some animals that act a heck of a lot smarter than some humans.
I watched an internet video last week, that featured an orangutan fashioning a hammock out of a piece of cloth. He attached the cloth to two bars on the corner of his cage, and there in lies the problem. This animal, who has the intelligence to tie, and retie, cloth until it makes a comfortable resting place, is spending his life trapped in a cage as a spectacle for our enjoyment. Some people’s disrespect for any living thing that they deem less intelligent than man has always sickened me.
Even as a child I disliked the zoo. It didn’t take an adult’s awareness to realize that those poor animals, trapped in small cages, were spending a lifetime steeped in misery. They were born to run wild, not to eat a banana for our entertainment. As the years went on, zoos throughout the country have attempted to give these animals a bit more room to move about, but they are still kept away from the life they are meant to enjoy.
My dislike of zoos pales in comparison to my hatred of circuses. According to dosomething.org, there isn’t one circus that displays animals that hasn’t been cited for violating minimal standards of animal care. Imagine spending 96% of your life in chains or cages while you are transported to foreign areas and forced to perform while being muzzled, whipped and prodded for the entertainment of others. Thanks to groups that protect animal rights, many circuses are animal free at this point, but even one animal being forced to suffer for our entertainment is one too many.
What are we teaching our children when they watch these acts of cruelty while munching on popcorn and cotton candy? I remember Arthur teaching our children the importance of treating all creatures with respect. Michael watched as his dad picked up bugs/spiders that I needed removed from the house and gently deposited them outside. Sometimes he used a paper cup or napkin to capture them, but he always made sure they survived the transfer. Now I watch our son show the same respect to all creatures in his path, and for me, that is one of his most endearing qualities.
We, as a society, must teach all of our children the value of all life. Survival of the fittest might help humans rationalize eating animals and wearing leather, but there is no cliche that can rationalize systematic torture of a living thing that can not protect itself. Our children must be taught to protect those animals and respect all life, if we are to advance as a society.
Thankfully, the book that I read this week was one that made me smile. Life's Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets by Lisa Quinn hit close to home as she explained the importance of enjoying life rather than striving for perfection. Her Erma Bombeck style was just what I needed to soothe me after my rant.
We here at Madderlyreview want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday filled with laughter, fun and a stack of new books.
As always a complete review of this book follows this blog.